What Is Fentanyl?

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a painkiller 80 times more potent than morhine

Fentanyl, also known by its trade name Sublimaze, is an opioid painkiller. It is used medically to relieve chronic moderate to severe pain, but it may also be used as an anesthetic for certain operations. This drug works by activating opioid receptors throughout the brain and by depressing the central nervous system (CNS).

Many people abuse this drug due to its strong effects and its ability to produce feelings of euphoria. According to the 2010-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as many as 4.68 percent of California citizens reported using prescription painkillers, like Fentanyl, for non-medical reasons. Unfortunately, there are many side effects and dangers associated with improper use of this drug. These risks may be especially prominent when the drug is mixed with other substances.

Fentanyl Effects and Dangers

There are many side effects associated with the use of Fentanyl. A few of the less dangerous side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, itching, nausea and vomiting. More severe side effects are also possible, most notably respiratory depression, slowed heart rate and hypotension.

Fentanyl is incredibly potent, approximately 80 times the potency of morphine when injected. Because of this increased potency,  California residents that use it risk overdose. For example, someone who uses morphine may think it is safe to take the same dose of Fentanyl, because they are both opiates, but this kind of drug use can lead to strong effects and possibly overdose.

Aside from the risk of side effects or overdose, addiction is a great concern when using Fentanyl for any reason. Long-term or high-dose use of this drug chemically changes the brain. The body alters the levels of certain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, to compensate for the frequent opiate intake. These changes lead to tolerance and withdrawal, two key features of addiction. When a California resident becomes tolerant to Fentanyl, she must progressively increase the dose to achieve the same effects. Withdrawal occurs when the addict goes long enough without a dose, so uncomfortable symptoms result. Withdrawal symptoms for this particular drug include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, insomnia, headache, sweating and increased heart rate.

Mixing Fentanyl with Other Substances

When striving to achieve a greater high, many drug users mix Fentanyl with other substances. Though mixing substances can certainly produce a stronger high, it also increases the risks.  California residents commonly mix Fentanyl with alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opiates and several other drugs. The biggest concern with combining CNS depressants is the possibility of greater respiratory depression. Combining any of these substances with Fentanyl can stop breathing completely, which can lead to brain damage or death if it continues.

Recently, Fentanyl-laced heroin has become common in the US. Combining these two opiates can produce effects that are stronger than either could provide individually. But, because both of these substances are depressants, the combination can be lethal, resulting in the recent deaths of at least 80 users around the country. California residents should seek help for any Fentanyl abuse.

Help for California Fentanyl Addicts

Fentanyl abuse and addiction can easily become lethal if left untreated. If you or a California loved one is addicted to this drug, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about Fentanyl addiction.

Leave a Reply